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Unemployment Above 9% for 19 Months, A New Record

John on December 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm

New Jobless numbers came out this morning. Reuters and the AP both posted downbeat stories on the numbers this afternoon. Here’s Reuters:

U.S. employment barely grew in November and the jobless rate unexpectedly hit a seven-month high, hardening views the Federal Reserve would stick to its $600 billion plan to shore up the anemic recovery.

Nonfarm payrolls rose 39,000, with private hiring gaining only 50,000, just a third of what economists had expected, a Labor Department report showed on Friday. The unemployment rate jumped to 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent in October.

The weak report was a surprise given the relative strength of some other recent economic signals, including robust retail sales. Economists had expected 140,000 new jobs and a steady unemployment rate.

This AP story is similarly full of gloom:

“Just when it was safe to believe the labor market was firming and job growth was coming back, we were reminded that this recovery is proceeding with fits and starts,” said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors

The rate, now at a seven-month high, has exceeded 9 percent for 19 straight months, the longest stretch on record. It could pass 10 percent, as it did briefly in late 2009, again next year.

“Employers are still cautious about hiring and are testing waters before taking on full-time employees,” said Sung Won Sohn, economist at California State University, Channel Islands.

If unemployment goes over 10% next year, Obama will be in real trouble. I’ve been thinking for a while that the smart Republicans were going to keep their powder dry until 2016, but maybe that’s wrong. Maybe there is a real opportunity to take back the White House in 2012.

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Category: Energy & Economy |

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